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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Yoga Practice after Surgery: Know the Facts!

What Is Yoga?

Yoga comes from the Sanskrit Word “Yuj” which means the union of an individual and the universal consciousness. Often when we hear or read yoga we visualize an image of twisting in apparently painful positions. Although postures or asanas are significant part of the teachings of yoga they are not all to the yoga.

Yoga has different schools of philosophy including Hatha Yoga that comprises of the asanas. It promotes both physical and mental well-being through medium of postures. It provides an individual with the physical fitness; other yoga types empower us with devotion, wisdom, etc. During ancient times it was taught to students in Gurukul after they pass a rigorous test.

Nowadays, yoga is being associated with only the physical postures wherein the vital teachings of yoga are maintaining a unanimous state of mind.  As per Bhagavad Gita, the holy book of the Hindus, “Yoga is skill in action and expression”.

Let us try to unravel the mysteries about yoga as the world is gearing up to celebrate the first ever International Day of Yoga.

World Yoga Day:

Over the past few decades, yoga had gone through complete transformation for once it was frowned upon but now accepted as one of the best natural therapies. The benefits of yoga have been noticed in the international community as well. Yoga is not simply an exercise but it is how skillfully we act and communicate in a given situation. Hence it is described as a mind skill and the ability to remain centered even in adverse situations. The postures contribute to healthy body and meditation or pranayama gives you healthy mind.  Hence yoga contributes to uniting the diverse aspects of life.

The United Nations has passed a resolution by declaring June 21st as the International Yoga Day on December 11, 2014. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech suggested 21st June to be celebrated as World Yoga Day because as per the Hindu Mythology, the first transmission of yoga began on this day. The first transmission was performed by Lord Shiva, the first Guru.

Yoga after Surgery: Is it Safe?

Yoga after surgery can be dangerous, so it is advised to go ahead with yoga after consulting your doctor. Yoga may cause excessive physical strain on your body and so you should wait for few weeks after surgery and then resume yoga. However, you can move ahead with meditation poses of yoga without much harm. It is suggested to avoid straining your body with excessive physical routine so that you avoid fatal injury. Check with your yoga instructor regarding safe asanas you can perform post surgery.

Practicing yoga involves physical and mental activities that train both your mind and body effectively. Surgery comprises of the infliction of a physical wound for accessing some internal organs of your body that requires treatment or removal of abnormal cells or repairs the damages.   

Performing yoga after surgery will entirely depend on the type of surgery that has been performed. For example, if the surgery has been performed on one of the lower limbs, then you can practice all the seated yoga poses. This will help work out for your upper body part. If you had undergone surgery for abdomen or chest, then there is little yoga you can do for a period of weeks until your surgical wound has healed completely.

Therefore, it is important to consult your doctor to figure out which part of your body can be exercised. Some people will be restricted to breathing exercises or basic poses during recovery period of surgery. You should strictly avoid extreme poses of yoga post surgery else could end up damaging your surgical wound. Eventually, this would lengthen your recovery period.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Yoga after Surgery:

  • Advantages of yoga after surgery can be seen in patients who have undergone procedures like hemorrhoidectomy or a tummy tuck.
  • Y Yoga involving Vinayasa and Ashtanga greatly helps to improve your blood circulation which reduces the risk of blood clots after surgery. While performing the Vinayasa poses you should avoid exerting pressure on the operated area of your body.
  • Breathing techniques practiced in pranayama are quite helpful to lightly engage the abdominal muscles for improving the blood circulation. This will eventually help to reduce the swelling after surgery.
  • Advantages of yoga post surgery can be seen in case of a hemorrhoidectomy by regularly performing breathing exercises. One of the breathing exercises Mool Bandh involves squeezing your anal muscles. Patients practicing this technique usually recover sooner.
  • Patients are advised to practice yoga after surgery under the guidance of a trained professional.
  • The only disadvantage of performing other yoga post surgery includes not able to practice some strenuous forms of yoga.
  • Patients can find difficulty in performing the fast breathing techniques or Bikram yoga especially if they have gone through the abdominal surgeries. This can cause unnecessary strain ion the operated area and in worst case cause post surgery complications.
®    Mikel Burley, Haṭha-Yoga: Its Context, Theory, and Practice, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ., (Jan 1, 2000)
®    "What is International Yoga Day?". Retrieved 18 June 2015.


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